A Tale of Two Strikers on Tyneside
When Newcastle signed Papiss Cisse from Freiburg in January, I thought he was the perfect strike partner for fellow countryman Demba Ba. The reality is different. Cisse scored 13 after Ba stopped on 16. This season Ba has 3 and Cisse hasn’t scored.
September 22nd, 2012
Earlier this week, Ba’s agent Alex Gontran threatened the Toon that his client will consider other options if he continues to sit on the bench. It came after Ba was dropped for a half in favour of Cisse at Goodison Park. Ba’s answer was to come on and score twice, including a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw. His frustration has history.
Ba wants to be the central striker at the club and feels his 16-goal contribution last season wasn’t valued when Pardew moved him to the left upon Cisse’s arrival. It only took 45 minutes on the bench for Ba’s agent to come out and threaten the striker’s exit. At the same time, Cisse hasn’t really got going this season and Ba has already scored three times.
The summer was an anxious time for Toon fans after Spurs boss Harry Redknapp revealed that Ba’s contract has a release clause. It was reported that £7.5m would be enough to secure his signature. That became £15m after July. Sky Italia said he’d joined Galatasaray, but that bid never came and Ba stayed on Tyneside.
Alan Pardew has now revealed that the ‘clause’ still exists and will be active during the January transfer window. Ba’s agent is angling for a big pay day, having seen a move for his client fail to materialise in the summer. I fear that we may reach a point in the season when only one of either Ba or Cisse will remain at the club. As things stand, the striker seemingly on his way out is Ba.
The situation is pretty complicated because Ba has really taken to Toon fans and loves the club. He also gets on pretty well with Pardew. However, his entourage and numerous agents are thinking about their own financial interest. They’re tough negotiators and Ba will listen to them.
Pardew has already said that the club will not be held to ransom by Ba’s entourage. He is the boss and there is no ‘I’ in TEAM. The most important thing for the gaffer is to play the team to win, not to please individuals. Based on that rationale, dropping Cisse might be a good idea, considering he is struggling for form and goals this season.
As far as NUFC fans are concerned, the January window will be annoying and frustrating as always. It will once again be full of speculation and counter speculation about our top players. I think it’s important to discard anything coming from agents or representatives. Unless Demba Ba comes out and declares he wants to leave, I’m expecting to see him play with a smile and score goals. Fingers crossed Cisse starts hitting form too.
Howay The Lads!
Umar Farooq, Editor – NUFCfans.co.uk